2024 Inner Mongolia Trip

I’m looking to find a good place for a gravel race and the Chifeng area seems like a good possible option with direct flights from many places and a high speed train link up from Beijing.

Also I’m trying out different modes of transport and options to reduce our carbon footprint. Last year it was EV’s (not so easy in a remote area) and this year it was trying to replace flights with trains.

Pre Ride: Wanted bike which could cope with anything and fat off road tires so Diverges where defiantly the right option. SF’d the Diverges from the Homestay to Chifeng Specialized a few days before we departed. So easy and convenient. Got a night sleeper train from Shanghai to Beijing. A great option to reduce your footprint if you don’t have a person snoring in your cabin! Had some meetings, met friends, night in BJ and high speed train to Chifeng (2h.40m) early the next morning.

Day 1: Checking what’s around Chifeng

Bikes shipped to Chifeng Specialized. Had them setup in half an hour and then headed out 10 minutes from the shop and hit the off road trails. Mostly hard pack up and down for the whole day. Nice to have that on your doorstep.

Day 2: Driving out and seeing what windmill city is like

Loaded up the renter car, tried to get a EV but that fell through and headed west. Found a little town with a place which would allow me to stay and searched out some local trails linking the wind turbines. Nice ride and a reminder at the end why one always needs to take a rain coat on such rides in such places.

Day 3: Kind of perfect little climb and loop

Turned up at …. and a posh hotel which was a nice change from our not so nice place the night before. Got a good nap and headed up the local hill to the relay station (and international paragliding area) and a little loop. Would be great fun doing a off-trail ride down the other side on a proper MTB.

Day 4: Too much pushing but up there is interesting

A nice sandy hard pack trail lead to bikeNhike over very chunky peanut butter rocks. A 1 hour slog of a push uphill. Lots to explore on the top and what is probably the best proper gravel trail area I’ve bee to in China.

Day 5: XC with the Strong Man

Had to get the car back to Chifeng so dropped that back and rented another unit and headed out to the local XC park. Shown around by the local bike dude, an extremely nice guy who runs a little workshop in the local large town and wins most of the masters mountain bike and road races in the area. Great to see REAL local passion in the sport.

Day 6: Fast loops with the local S Crew

Bad tooth so flight back to Shanghai mid-day so just an easy ride with the local S crew… . Half hour bike packed in box at the Specialized shop and SF back to the homestay. Easy return home for a dentist visit 🙁

In summary; Lots of opportunities around and a great time of year to escape the depressing and discursive plumb rains around Shanghai and the homestay. If I’ve got the time I would like to return next year to explore more around the Hexigten Global Geopark area.

2023 Rides (forget if I posted them)

Nice Grassland Area: nice mix of off road and on road.

Volcano Spin: need to explore that area more…. should be some stunning road riding to East.